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Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies: Chinese American History through Documentary Making

Resources to explore Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies. Take your time exploring and feel free to reach out with any questions!

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Chinese American History through Documentary Making

This page contains documentaries created in Professor Harvey Dong's Asian American Studies course ASAMST 121 from 2019 to the present. Support from the California Alumni Association, Chinese Chapter; Ethnic Studies ChangeMaker Project, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

Chinese American History through Documentary Making

Spring 2022: Student Videos

Supported by the California Alumni Association, Chinese Chapter, Ethnic Studies Changemakers Program 

Instructor: Harvey Dong 

Note: Following is a listing of the student group video projects for Spring 2022. The videos for Spring 2022 have not been uploaded for public viewing. 


The Role of Asian Americans in the TWLF: A brief examination of the TWLF and its evolution on campus 

Jose Cartagena, Jennifer Zhang, Ashley Budiwarman, Isabel Shiao 

Originating from San Francisco State University from a coalition of various student ethnic groups, the TWLF movement began a larger discussion as to the inclusion of People of Color in administration and education. This project explores the movement’s evolution by analyzing Asian American contributions during the 1960s and 1970s, specifically at UC Berkeley. Our research and interviews examined key Asian American individuals and businesses in the advancement of the TWLF, as well as contemporary Ethnic Studies scholarship. In focusing on the movement’s development over the past decades, we hope to better understand how the TWLF of the late twentieth century culminated into present-day Ethnic Studies.


Chinese American Response and Resistance in AAPI Activism

Jaide Lin, Charles Wang, Abigail Yu, Erica Lin, Shay Ma  

Examining historical trends of exclusionary acts to Chinese Americans and community response/resistance to these efforts, as well as how this influences broader inter-community/generational advocacy movements and AAPI activism as a whole.


Dancing the Night Away: A Chinatown Experience

Savinnie Ho, Ryan Lee, Ivy Wong, Tiffany Huang 

In our video “Dancing the Night Away: A Chinatown Experience,” we examine the roles of nightclubs in Chinatown and Chinese American history. SF Chinatown nightclubs became a popular place for many folks of different statuses and races to congregate and watch performances done by Chinese American women. In doing so, nightclubs contributed to Chinatown’s growing tourism and economic development. More importantly, it provided Chinese American women opportunities to break out of their gender roles and showcase their talents in arts and music in the 1930s to 1960s. Through verbal accounts of Steven Lee, the new Lion’s Den Nightclub owner, Cynthia Yee, a member of the Grant Avenue Follies, and Kelsi Seid, the granddaughter of Estelle Kelley, a former dancer at Forbidden City, viewers will be able to understand some of the ups and downs of the nightlife industry as well as what has changed about the scene today.


 

Proposition 16: Unpacking Misrepresented Relationships between Chinese Americans and Affirmative Action 

Angela Kou, Qiangwen Zhu, Mika Jin, Kimberly Woo

Our documentary explores the fight for affirmative action with Proposition 16 on the November 2020 ballot and the myths, misconceptions, and opposing forces that came from it, with a deeper analysis into the perspectives of Chinese Americans. This project documents the Chinese American perspective on affirmative action with a focus on California Proposition 16 on the November 2020 ballot. Learn from those affected by affirmative action and those who research education equity, such as professors, advocates, activist groups, and students, understanding the myths and misconceptions that arose during its run. Hear from the Chinese for Affirmative Action campaign, No on 16, and students and professors alike.


Gentrification of San Francisco Chinatown

Amanda Hoang, Kelly Lin, Ki Liu, Emily Yu, Raïssa Ngoma 

Our project is centered on Gentrification in SF Chinatown. Kelly is currently working on a project with the Upper Chinatown Neighborhood Association and the Wildflowers Institute, who are two groups that do social advocacy work in SF Chinatown. In this project, our team interviewed Jiexin's Chen, a bystander who's been affected by gentrification in SF Chinatown. Our goal was to learn about the issues gentrification in SF Chinatown has brought to the Asian community and how we can better inform ourselves to tackle the issue. In the video, we address why this issue is important, who it is affecting, and how the displacement of this community needs to be urgently addressed and how it is reflective of America as a whole.


 

Marion Kwan and Asian American Civil Rights 

Rayna Rao, Zoe Zhu, Titus Yuen, Ruilin Liu 

Focusing on Marion Kwan and her experiences growing up in San Francisco and her journey with fighting for civil rights and her hopes for the future.


“Where are you REALLY from?:" Breaking Out of the Perpetual Foreigner Stereotype

Jessica Shim, Odelia Simon, Katarina Vallero, Jet Situ 

For a long time, Chinese Americans had been viewed and are continued to be viewed as perpetual foreigners who are incapable of assimilating into American society. Hence, the commonly asked question for many Chinese Americans is “where are you really from,” which automatically assumes that Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans are not and cannot be from America. It is important to note that the media was the main form in which the perpetual foreigner stereotype was promoted and spread– unfortunately, it has been used against Chinese Americans to tell them they do not belong in America. Our project tracks the root of the perpetual foreigner stereotype, examines how it has evolved from the past to the present, and emphasizes the need for the continued fight against the perpetual foreigner stereotype.


The Evolution and Impact of Chinese Food in America

Caitlin Joe, Jessica Yang, Tobin Thannickal, Nathan Vuong

Chinese cuisine is one of the defining characteristics of Chinese culture. Our project explores the history of Chinese immigrants and how food plays a vital role in Chinese American identity. We also dive into how immigrant cuisine is reflected by the history of Chinese immigration and US-China relations and how modern day Chinese American food is a cuisine in and of itself.


Understanding Asian Hate: The Importance of Asian American Studies

Wei Yew Chaw (graduating senior), Bao Vang, Vanessa Li 

For our project, we decided to name it “Understanding Asian Hate: The Importance of Asian American Studies.” The focus of our project was to highlight the importance of Asian American studies, as the U.S. does not have very many courses that emphasize different ethnic groups. We wanted to convince people of the importance of these studies and inform the audience that there’s value in including their ethnic group’s studies in the education system. This can also give Asian minorities a voice. We started off our project with interviewing James Hsue, a man with a career in patent law and someone who advocated for Asian American studies at UC Berkeley. He was active during the 60s to ensure a future for Asian American studies at UC Berkeley as the Asian American population was growing at the institution. Another person we interviewed was a student at Dartmouth College who is currently working with her peers to implement an Asian American studies program at a predominantly white institution. We hope to help our audience understand the significance of incorporating Asian American and Asian Diaspora studies into the curriculums in the U.S.

 

Spring 2021: Student Podcasts 

Supported by Ethnic Studies Changemakers Project, UC Berkeley, California Alumni Association, Chinese Chapter 

Instructor: Harvey Dong 

Podcast Interviews with: Dr. Raymond Chong, Steve Wong, Katie Quan, Lora Jo Foo, John Jung, Nona Mock Wyman, Alvina Wong, Lok Siu, Paulo Jop, Jeff Leong, Russell Jeung, Norman Fong and Joyce Xi. 

Sponsored by Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies, UC Berkeley with support from Chinese American Alumni Chapter of the Cal Alumni Association, Ethnic Studies Changemakers. Student Assistant Tech Support: Gabrielle Arreola. 


 

The Evolution of Chinese Restaurants in America featuring Dr. Raymond Chong and Steve Wong

Produced by Annie Adachi, Lucero Garcia, Stephanie Wong and Catherine Lei

Interviews with Dr. Raymond Chong whose writings have centered around Chinese American history and the history of chop suey restaurants in the United States. Also interviewed is Steve Wong who is a UC Berkeley Asian American Studies alumni and whose family relied upon restaurant work.


 

Chinese Sweatshop Workers: A Thread in the Fabric of Asian American History featuring Katie Quan and Lora Jo Foo

Produced by Hannah Chea and Julianne Han

Katie Quan is a third generation Chinese American who joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union after working as a seamstress in a Chinese garment factory in New York. She helped organize the 1982 Garment Workers’ Strike, the largest strike in the history of New York City's Chinatown. Lora Jo Foo was also a union organizer in the Bay Area as well as an activist in the garment workers union. When she was eleven years old she was a Chinatown garment worker and later, she became an attorney working to represent low wage workers in sweatshop industries. She co-founded Sweatshop Watch and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.


 

Chinese Migration to Latin America featuring Lok Siu and Paulo Jop 

Produced by Kelvin Chau, Russell Lee, Amber Mach, and Michelle Wong 

Professor Lok Siu is currently completing a manuscript tentatively titled, Chino Latin@: Recovering Hemispheric Asian America, which explores the transnational connections among Asians in the Americas within the context of coloniality, geopolitics, and competing nationalisms. She is also expanding her interest into food studies and working on an ethnography tentatively titled, The Food Truck Generation. Gung Gung Paulo Jop is the grandfather of one of the team members and is the founder of Calimod, the largest shoe company in Peru.


 

Chinese Laundries: Early Case Histories of Struggle Against Discrimination featuring John Jung 

Produced by Jessica Chau, Phoebe Li, Zi Lin Li, Tianhao Liu 

In this podcast focusing on Chinese Laundries, Dr. John Jung discusses the vital role that this ethnic business had for Chinese immigrants for over a century all over the U.S. He is currently an active researcher and author of 5 books on the history of Chinese American experience in major forms of self-employment in family businesses such as laundries, restaurants, and grocery stores. In 2017, the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California awarded him a "Golden Spike" as a Storyteller.


 

Seeds for Future Generations: the Chinese Community and Climate Change featuring Alvina Wong 

Produced by Shu Him Liu, Natalie Pham, Jia Wen Wang, and Jessica Zheng 

Alvina Wong is the Campaign and Organizing director at Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) located in Oakland Chinatown. Her work entails developing community leadership to empower low-income and working-class Asian immigrants and refugees. She has developed and organized education campaigns for young people on topics related to access to community resources and the issue of youth incarceration.


 

Motown in Chinatown and finding the Asian-American voice featuring Rev. Norman Fong 

Produced by Peiyao Li, Sou Saechao, Vivian Tran, Joanne Wang, and Sean Wei 

Norman Fong is a minister of the San Francisco Presbytery Church, an executive director of the Chinatown Community Development Center, and a co-founding musician of Jest Jammin’. Today, he continues to work full-time in local nonprofits while empowering his neighborhood community through grassroots projects and music. He graduated from Galileo High School and earned his B.A. in Sociology at San Francisco State University.


 

Orphanages and Cultural Identity featuring Nona Mock Wyman 

Produced by Em Miller, Violex Ming, Ben Vo, and Elisabeth Wing 

Born in 1935, Nona Mock Wyman grew up in the Ming Quong Home in Los Gatos from 2 years old. She has written four books, two of which are memoirs named Bamboo Women: Stories from Ming Quong, a Chinese Orphanage in California and Chopstick Childhood: In a Town of Silver Spoons. She wrote these stories in collaboration with her sisters from the home. She enjoys sharing their experiences, the social contexts of that time, and how they affect them today.


 

Starting Asian American Studies featuring Jeff Leong 

Produced by Ethan Chiu, Kristina Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Lawrence Su, and Phibi Tran 

Our podcast topic is how the first Asian American studies class was started at UC Berkeley in 1969. Jeff Leong discusses his experiences in creating the proposal for Asian Studies 100X, the first Asian American Studies class in the UC system. Jeff dives deeper into his own journey as a student, how the course developed, the cultural and historical context behind the course, the backlash, and how Asian American studies has evolved to this day.


 

Persecution of Chinese American Scientists and Researchers in the Current Climate of Hostility Between the United States and China featuring Joyce Xi 

Produced by Malcolm Devoe, Layly Roodsari, and Allen Zhang 

During this interview, we had the opportunity to talk to Joyce Xi, daughter of Chinese American scientist Xiaoxing Xi, regarding her father’s unfair prosecution for being a Chinese spy. Joyce shared with us her first-hand recount of the FBI raid on her family home which took away her father without sufficient evidence of any violation of the law.


 

COVID-19 Stories: Effects of the Pandemic on the Chinese-American Community featuring Russell Jeung 

Produced by Richard Jin, Jake Ngu, Julie Nguyen, Anh-Vy Phan, Kaitlyn Wang 

In this podcast we spoke with Dr. Russell Jeung (SF State Asian American Studies) on the issue of how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the Chinese American community. We discussed a variety of topics including COVID-related anti-Asian hate crime, the recent rise in media coverage of anti-Asian hate crime, and steps that Dr. Jeung’s organization, StopAAPIHate.org, has taken to document and combat anti-Asian hate.

Spring 2020 Student Videos

Supported by California Alumni Association, Chinese Chapter, Adobe/Creative Discovery Fellows Program, Academic Innovation Studios, American Cultures Program 

Instructor: Harvey Dong 

Student Assistant: Bennet Tseng


 

Remembering: The Stories of Chinese American WWII Veterans

Produced by Anthony Chen, Anthony Aong, Jason Wang

At the end of 2018, Chinese American community organizers successfully lobbied Congress to award Chinese American WWII veterans a Congressional Gold medal in recognition for their service during a time of Chinese exclusion. This film dives into the stories of these veterans and their families and the Chinese American push for visibility in American society today. 


 

Mun Ching (Chinese American Democratic Youth League) 

Produced by Xinyi Li, Wenyan Ouyang, Rong Chu, Wesley Lao

Short documentary on the life of Mun Ching (Chinese American Democratic Youth League), a youth organization in San Francisco Chinatown. The project is based on researching the Him Mark Lai Archives in the Asian American Studies Collection, Ethnic Studies Library at UC Berkeley. Family interviews, film clips from Chinatown Files documentary, books and articles from the Mun Ching Library which was a free library in Chinatown.


 

The Gordon J Lau School in San Francisco

Produced by Kevin Chou, Cori Kumamoto, Serena Chen

Project looks into the past history of the Gordon J Lau School in SF Chinatown. Originally it was the Oriental School during the time of segregation between Chinese and white school children. In the 1970s, the school was renamed after progressive community leader, Gordon J Lau. Interviewed is his widow, Mary Dong Lau. 


 

Preserving Chinese American History: SF Chinatown’s CHSA 

Produced by Jessica Cheng, Stanley Lu, Daniel Hsieh 

Founded in 1963, the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) was the first organization that actively sought to educate the public about Chinese American history. Our film discusses the various ways in which the CHSA is working to preserve Chinese American history and why the CHSA’s work continues to be important even to this day. 


 

The Evolution and Legacy of Chinatown Associations

Produced by Kimberlyn Quon, May Huang, Cindy Huang, Linyue Song

An exploratory look at Chinatown associations, beginning with the traditional family associations. Pam Tau Lee, the co-founder of the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), also speaks about her experiences as an activist and her involvement. 


 

Art, Culture, Community: The Vision of the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC)

Produced by Kyle Wang, Anna Jiwu, Sarah Folkmanis, Sally Nguyen

Presents to the viewer activities of the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, a cultural mainstay based in Oakland Chinatown. Includes footage of holiday events and interviews with staff. 


 

Persecution of Chinese American scientists and researchers in the current climate of hostility between US and China 

Produced by Julie Thao, Sophie Zhang, Dandan Mai

Negative US-China relations has had an impact on the treatment of Chinese American scientists. This project addresses the historical roots of their racial profiling, its impacts and Chinese American community reaction. 


 

Yellow Peril: Then and Now 

Produced by Ruby Cross, Isaac Truong, Jason Hu, Mikaela Frichtel

The history of the Chinese in America is one seeded with racism and a view that the Chinese pose a threat to Western society. The term for this hysteria is: Yellow Peril. The Coronavirus pandemic has led to a resurgence of Yellow Peril and racism and violence towards Asian Americans. 


 

Chop Suey: Chinese Food in the US 

Produced by Devin Yuan, Andrew Shieh, Air Saengthongsrikamol, Kyle Yu

The video chronicles the evolution of Chinese-American cuisine from the mid-1800's to the modern-day, including an interview with sixth-generation Chinese-American and historian Dr. Raymond Chong. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Chinese American restaurants is also addressed. 

Spring 2019 Student Videos 

Supported by the California Alumni Association, Chinese Chapter 

Videography Instructor: Dharini Rasiah 

Instructor: Harvey Dong